World's First Eyeless Spider Discovered in Southeast Asia
Just when scientists think they have discovered and recorded every species of insect that crawls the earth they find something new. Earlier this month, Peter Jager, the head of arachnology at Frankfurt's Senckenberg Research Institute reported the discovery of a unique spider that has adapted to its dark environment by simply doing away with of all of its eight eyes!
The tiny arachnid that sports a leg span of six centimeters and a body size of just twelve millimeters, was found in a cave inside the tiny nation of Laos, in Southeast Asia. It was Identified as a member of the Huntsman spider, a large family that comprises of 1100 species - However, the other members of the family all sport eyes.
The Sinopoda Scurion is the first one that has no eyes. The scientists believe that the reason for the lack of eyes can be attributed to the fact that these spiders spend their entire life inside caves. In the past they have seen other cave-dwelling members of the Huntsman spiders with six or less eyes. They believe that the Sinopoda Scurion have adopted to the fact that they do not really need the eyes to such an extreme measure, that they have dispensed with them altogether.
And they are not the only creature to have done that - Over the years, scientists have discovered completely blind scorpions, cave fish, and even a freshwater crab, which happens to inhabit in the same cave as this eyeless spider!
Surrounded by Burma and China on the northwest, Vietnam on the east, Cambodia on the South and Thailand on the west, the landlocked nation of Laos has been a treasure trove of an incredible number of new and exotic species. In the last few years researchers have discovered the Saola - a never-before seen antelope like creature, a small deer species called muntjacs, a tiny striped rabbit and a rock rat that was thought to have been extinct, 11 million years ago (check video).
In addition to that it is also home to over one hundred species of large mammals ranging from Tigers to macaques and over 165 species of amphibians and reptiles like the formidable King cobra and the noisy Tokay gecko, a permanent resident inside most Laos households.
Resources: ecotoruismlaos.com, livescience.com, msnbc.msn.com